Lead is recognised as a highly toxic metal, but prior to the early 1960s, white lead (lead carbonate/lead sulphate) was the principal white pigment in primers and topcoats and was used extensively inside and outside homes and other buildings. Lead-based paints were widely applied to doors, architraves, window frames and sills, stairs and bannisters, skirting boards, weather boards, door frames and barge boards.
Exposure to lead in paint can occur as a result of inhaling or swallowing paint chips, dust or dirt containing lead. Elevated blood lead levels are associated with a range of adverse health effects including:
- stomach ache
- depression and forgetfulness
High levels of exposure can lead to loss of coordination, convulsions, paralysis, coma and death. Children are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning. Adverse effects on the intellectual and behavioural development of children have been reported at relatively low levels of exposure, sometimes as a result of exposure to leaded paint in house dust.
In the UK, regulations now prohibit the use of lead paint in domestic properties, but leaded paint may still be present in houses built prior to the 1970’s. This is a particular hazard for those engaged in renovating older properties. Before any work is carried out on old painted surface, the lead content should be established.
Reliable lab analysis of workplace and environmental samples is a crucial component of managing people's health and safety in the workplace and the wider environment. We provide specialist analysis to support workplace monitoring for hazardous substances, asbestos surveys, site investigations, environmental monitoring and product quality assurance. We can analyse paint fragments for lead content to help clients manage exposure.
Contact us: 08458 737020